Lost Renaissance Masterpiece Founded in Bungalow Sells in London

Follower of Filippino Lippi: Depiction of the Madonna and Child, oil on canvas in a giltwood frame, 20 by 17 inches. COURTESY DAWSONS AUCTIONEERS, LONDON

A lost oil painting attributed to a follower of the Italian Renaissance artist Filippino Lippi has been found in a 90-year-old woman’s bungalow.

The painting was sold for £255,000 (US$321,000) at Dawsons Auctioneers in London. The oil painting entitled “Depiction of the Madonna and Child” dates from the 15th century. The painting depicts Mary with the baby Jesus on her knees in the center and with two accompanying angels, set against a landscape and framed in gilded wood.

Lippi was the illegitimate son of the priest and artist Fra Filippo Lippi, who became famous for his paintings of the Madonna. The elder Lippi was also the mentor of the legendary Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, who later taught Filippino Lippi.

The Depiction of the Madonna and Child belonged to a 90-year-old woman with dementia who moved into a nursing home last year. Shortly thereafter, Dawsons began evaluating her holdings in order to cover her medical expenses.

Unaware of the painting’s possible meaning, the Italian-born woman inherited the painting from her father at the time of his death about 30 years ago. Siobhan Tyrrell, head of the appraisal at the auction house and Antiques Roadshow specialist, said in the video that the last room she entered was her bedroom and she was amazed to see this beautiful 16th-century religious painting.

Attracting at least 20 bidders, the painting’s high price suggests some believe the work may even have been painted by the artist himself.

The record for a Filippino Lippi painting is $2.3 million after selling at Christie’s New York in 2005, with only five other works reaching higher value. Proceeds from the sale of £255,000 will go towards caring for an elderly woman. According to Tyrell, this is an absolute find and will truly change her life.


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